Is the communication of value important in the licensing of patented inventions?
Most technology transfer professionals would answer that it is indeed important. When these same professionals are asked how much time they spend marketing patented inventions relative to their involvement in other licensing related activities, there is often hesitation before an answer is offered. Most technology transfer professionals really do not think of the work they perform as involving “marketing” per se. The daily demands of evaluating invention disclosures, patenting inventions, and negotiating license agreements often overshadow the outreach or communication efforts necessary to find new companies suitable to license the inventions. Even so, the importance of identifying and communicating the value of the intellectual property to companies who demonstrate the ability to turn the inventions into commercially successful products as a part of the overall licensing business model simply cannot be overstated.
The specific subset of marketing that involves communication of value for the purposes of demand creation is called marketing communications. This presentation highlights close yet often overlooked relationships between basic concepts of traditional B2B marketing communications and the marketing of early stage technology for purposes of licensing inventions for use in the market as new products and processes. It was developed with University Technology Transfer in mind, but the concepts and techniques presented may prove useful for non-profits, government agencies, and others who license their intellectual property to companies for further development into commercial products.
I gave this presentation in a workshop format at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology TLO (Technology Licensing Office) in April of 2009. I have since revised it and placed here for public viewing. I am interested in any feedback and comments, especially from tech transfer and technology marketing professionals. Please post your comments or private message me with your thoughts regarding this topic and on the presentation itself.
Many thanks to Jane Muir, Associate Director of the Office of Technology Licensing at University of Florida, for sharing with me her wealth of experience in teaching marketing and communications to Technology Transfer Professionals.